eCite Digital Repository

Disrupting the discourse of war: Nakai Hideo’s youthful template for a free and democratic post-war Japan


Hartley, B, Disrupting the discourse of war: Nakai Hideo's youthful template for a free and democratic post-war Japan, Japanese Studies, 42, (3) pp. 295-308. ISSN 1037-1397 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

DOI: doi:10.1080/10371397.2022.2134099


This article examines notions of democracy in the writing of post-war literary identity, Nakai Hideo (1922–1993). Although Nakai is known as a fantasy novelist, tanka poet/editor and essayist, the focus text here is Kanata yori (From afar), a diary produced during the final stages of the war. Entries were largely written while the future literary identity worked as a mobilised student in the Ichigaya offices of the Imperial Army General Staff Headquarters. Audaciously, given the writer’s war-time role, the work was scathingly critical of the military policies of the time. While written in wartime, the diary was not published until 1971. This situates the work squarely in the politico-literary space of the post-war era. Furthermore, the diarist undoubtedly longs for a future without the militarist authorities. Brief reference is also made to a 1969 fantasy text, 'Kokuchō-tan' (Odyssey of the Black Swan), which features a young twenty-something protagonist whom Nakai identified as his own young post-war self. Both works present as fertile territory for an investigation of youth and democracy in post-war Japan.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Literature in Japanese
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Asia's past
UTAS Author:Hartley, B (Dr Barbara Hartley)
ID Code:155398
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2023-02-17
Last Modified:2023-02-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page